Brunn am Gebirge, 1890-1987, Edinburgh
Gál was a widely popular composer and influential educator who studied piano privately with Richard Robert from 1905 and composition privately with Eusebius Mandyczewski from 1909 to 1911. He obtained his doctorate under Guido Adler in 1913. In 1915, he won the Austrian Art Award, though he subsequently withdrew most of his own compositions written prior to 1920. Success came with his opera Die heilige Ente (The Sacred Duck), which enjoyed an unbroken run from its premiere under George Szell in 1923 until its removal by the Nazis in 1933. On the recommendation of Richard Strauss and Wilhelm Furtwaengler, he was appointed director of Mainz’s Music Academy in 1929. Gál fled to England in 1938 and was interned in 1940. From 1945 to 1965, he lectured at Edinburgh University and founded the Edinburgh Festival with fellow Viennese Rudolf Bing (later director of the Met Opera in New York). In 1957, he won a second Art Award, but never returned to Austria. His writings on music remain highly regarded, and his compositions are now being rediscovered.